Gabonese military declare coup, put President Bongo under house arrest
The Gabonese military have canceled presidential election results and dissolved state institutions, officers said Wednesday, claiming that they have taken power and put President Ali Bongo under house arrest.
In a televised statement, a group of senior Gabonese officers said that they seized power after Bongo, the incumbent president, was announced to be re-elected in a contested election. The election results were canceled, state institutions dissolved, and all borders closed until further notice, they said.
Gabon's national electoral body said earlier in the day that Bongo from the ruling Gabonese Democratic Party was re-elected for a third term in Saturday's election. However, the officers said that the election was not credible.
According to local media, gunfire was heard in the capital Libreville.
"In the name of the Gabonese people ... we have decided to defend the peace by putting an end to the current regime," the officers said on national television. They read a statement on behalf of the Committee for the Transition and Restoration of Institutions.
"All the institutions of the republic are dissolved, in particular the government, the Senate, the National Assembly, the Constitutional Court, the Economic, Social and Environmental Council, the Gabonese Center for Elections," read the statement.
The Gabonese presidency and the government have not yet responded to the statement.
Ali Bongo, 64, once served as minister of defense and other posts in the government. He was elected president of the Gabonese Republic in 2009 and was re-elected in 2016.
In another statement released Wednesday, the military said "President Ali Bongo is kept under house arrest, surrounded by his family and his doctors."
The officers said the son of the president, Noureddin Bongo Valentin, and several other senior officials close to Bongo were arrested.